Thursday, October 27, 2016

Heaven Forbid

Heaven Forbid over at Gabriel Sanchez's blog is a good read. It contains some pointed criticisms of Orthodoxy, especially American Orthodoxy, with which I really can't disagree. At least not very strongly. Orthodoxy is balkanized with all sorts of confusion on various, usually pastoral, issues. In too many cases it still has the unfortunate odor of being an ethnic social club. But on the upside, blatant heresy is not commonly preached in its churches. This is sadly not the case in the Roman Catholic Church.

From time to time I get emails from people thinking of swimming the Bosporus in the hopes of escaping the crisis (is there anyone who can seriously deny the existence of a major crisis?) in the Roman Catholic Church. My advice is to take a deep breath. Too many are looking for some mythical slightly Byzantine version of the pre-Vatican II RCC with great liturgy but without a Communist and almost certainly heretical Pope. That is not what we are.

We have many of the same problems that Catholics do, and a few that are kinda unique to us. Corrupt clergy, poisonous church politics, in some cases an unwillingness by clergy to preach an uncompromising position on some of the hot button issues of the modern age, and the pervasive issue of ethnophyletism. But as Gabriel noted, overt heresy is not (usually) on the menu, though I have been seeing a few worrying signs.

All of which brings us back to the great aphorism that the grass is always greener over the septic tank.

Does this mean I don't want Catholics (or anyone else) to convert? No! I want EVERYONE to become Orthodox. But I want them to do it for the right reasons and with their eyes wide open. It took me 25 years before I finally took the plunge. In my ten years in the Church I have made a few observations about converts. Only about half are still Orthodox after three years. And that is a serious problem because apostasy is much worse than schism or heresy. It is far better that you stay outside the Church than join, only to leave later on.

Beyond which, see this post.


rick allen said...

"a Communist and almost certainly heretical Pope."

I guess after so many months of this wretched presidential campaign I'm getting used to anything. But honestly, I know that you know what Communism is, and that you know that Francis is not an atheist adherent of dialectical materialism. Even in today's crazy climate I hope that words still have meaning.

As to heresy, he is of course a Catholic and, to the extent that he professes the Double Procession of the Holy Spirit and adheres to the First Vatican Council's definition of papal authority I suppose he could be considered a heretic from an Eastern Orthodox perspective. But I suspect you mean something else, and I don't want to be snarky and I certainly don't want to argue about it, but I am curious about what (other) heresies you believe Francis promotes.

I've always enjoyed your blog and have learned much about Orthodoxy from it, and hope to continue doing so. But I think you know better than "Communist," and an accusation of heresy surely requires a little clarification.

William Tighe said...

I have to agree with the previous comment: a "Peronist," almost certainly, but for "Communist" (if by that you mean a Marxian Communist) there is no evidence.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Communism comes in different flavors. He is pretty sympathetic to Liberation Theology as are a number of his appointments. And he despises capitalism. Beyond which he is certainly a modernist and very likely has no serious objection to homosexuality or to divorce and remarriage. The latter of course is a point of difference between Rome and Orthodoxy, though he seems fine with people receiving Communion who were civilly remarried. We don't do that.

rabidgandhi said...

Too many are looking for some mythical slightly Byzantine version of the pre-Vatican II RCC with great liturgy but without a Communist and almost certainly heretical Pope. That is not what we are.
This should be posted at every parish entrance. There are far too many folks whose itch for requeté 19th century papism is not satisfied by SSPXII or whatever other "conservative" trends are now hip in the West, and it is our own fault (out of a desire to woo them) that we do not disabuse them of this fantasy from the get-go, with often drastic consequences as A/O mentions.

PS: @ William Tighe: Francisco is no Peronist. In Argentina, Peronism is a clear party affiliation, and Bergoglio has never been a member. This is clear per his biographer, Elisabeta Piqué, who said "I think the myth of the Pope being Peronist came about because he has always been interested in social justice, a cause also dear to Peronism."

evagrius said...

Well, I don't think capitalism, in its most blatant form, is compatible with Christianity....if that makes the Pope "communist", I'm with for the rest of your comments, leave it to wiser heads than you or I to sort out.